Not that anyone is going to call me out on it, but I haven’t lived up to my end of the bargain this week. I haven’t done a creative thing every day.
Well, of course not, people will say. You had to take Grayson up to Guilford. You had things to do, emotions to deal with, huge rainstorms to drive through with stinging tears rolling down your cheeks, etc., etc.
But it seems to me that part of a project like this is that you do something every day. It’s part of the discipline of the thing. And I haven’t found that discipline and that rhythm yet.
I completely understand that the creative process requires downtime. Even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer or music notebook, I can be mulling over what to do next with “Milky Way.” Often your best ideas come from after you’ve walked away from the problem. That’s happened to me all the time.
Still, that downtime can be spent on other projects, which is why I have tried to get several things going: William Blake, the symphony, the 341 poem. And this week I’ve just slacked off.
One of my biggest weaknesses, and you’ll hear me whine about this a lot in the coming year, is that my abilities as a composer are really hit or miss. I have no formal training in composition, so I’m usually floundering my way through whatever it is I’m working on. What this means for the daily discipline thing is that I am unable to sit down and work for a quick ten minutes, say, on the “Milky Way” problem because I don’t have a trained understanding of the mechanics of the solution. That is, knowing that I have to extend the climactic nature of the passage, delaying it for another eight measures (for example), is no help at all when I don’t have the knowledge set of how to do that harmonically.
Ah well, as dear Sammy Beckett always said, “Keep going. Going on. Call that going? Call that on?#8221;